Red zone proficiency, limiting big plays important for Texas this week

Ryan Haddox

Texas wins if…

it wins in the red zone. A week ago in Morgantown, the Longhorns came away with three points on three of their first four trips to the red zone. The defense rose to the occasion and kept the team around until the offense could get its feet underneath it, but they won’t have that luxury this week with the Cowboys. Both Texas and Oklahoma State are each averaging about 440 yards on offense and are each allowing around 385 yards per game. One of the biggest differences between the two teams is their red zone performance — Texas has scored 17 touchdowns in 31 red zone trips (54.9 percent) while Oklahoma State has scored 31 touchdowns in 48 trips (64.6 percent) to the red zone. Texas is eighth in the Big 10 red zone defense and Oklahoma State is second. The Longhorns will need Case McCoy to hit a couple deep shots and the defense will need to force turnovers. If Texas punches it in the end zone when it gets to the red zone, they should be in good shape to continue their improbable quest to a
Big 12 championship.


Texas loses if…

it allows explosive plays. The formula for the Longhorns over this incredible six-game win streak has been a thing of beauty. With the way the offense is currently constructed, which is to run first and pass second, they cannot afford to fall behind by too many points, and they haven’t. Texas has played with a lead through most of this winning streak, and they need to continue that trend Saturday. Oklahoma State is known for their high-flying air attack, and the Cowboys have averaged 41.8 points per game in their last five victories. It can be a quick-strike thing of beauty, amassing points in the blink of an eye. The Longhorns will have to do everything in their power to eliminate the big plays, because they simply don’t have the offensive firepower to stand toe-to-toe with an offense like the Cowboys in a shootout. Texas loses if it lets the Cowboys put points on the board quickly and the Longhorns offense can’t keep up.